CWU News

CWU Air Force ROTC to hold solemn Veterans Day vigil

CWU Veterans Day VigilFor the 29th consecutive year, CWU’s award-winning Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) senior class will commemorate Veterans Day with a tribute to America’s prisoners of war (POW) and others missing in action (MIA) during a 24-hour Veterans Day vigil.

It begins at midnight on Veterans Day with a brief ceremony that will include a performance of “Taps,” the distinctive bugle refrain often heard at military memorial events.

During this year’s vigil, the detachment’s 14 senior cadets will live in spartan conditions in a tent outside the AFROTC’s facilities in Lind Hall, on the Ellensburg campus. The event provides member of the Cascade Cowboys with an opportunity to “honor POW and MIA personnel—their service, courage, and sacrifice—and remind, especially their families, that they are not forgotten,” said Cadet First Lieutenant Lauren Letarte, a senior from Tucson, Arizona, who is organizing the vigil as the detachment’s Plans and Programs Officer.

During rotating shifts throughout the vigil, participating cadets will stand guard over a memorial to their comrades. Other cadets will staff an information table, with memorabilia of significance to POW/MIA families, and provide other information.

“When I started here as a freshman, I went to the vigil, saw the memorial, and realized that this is a big event,” Letarte recalled. “I saw the pride that the senior class had in it and I’ve looked forward to attending the vigil over the past few years. Now, participating and being a part of it is very special.”

CWU and all Kittitas County community members are welcome to view the displays during the vigil, visit with cadets, or simply honk their car and truck horn as they pass to indicate their support.

The U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lists more than 82,000 members of the U.S. armed forces as still unaccounted for from past conflicts, back to World War II.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

Note: This year marks the 100th anniversary of what is generally recognized as the end of World War I, with an armistice—a formal agreement to end the fighting—which took effect at 11:00 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

The United States began officially observing Armistice Day, which honors the service of all U.S. military veterans, in 1938. In 1954, the annual public holiday was renamed Veterans Day, which takes place this Sunday, November 11.